Every note so special to Ruby
RUBY LOOSEMORE, of Ballina, was just eight months old when she received a cochlear implant in 2004.
She was the 1000th recipient of the medical device through the Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre (SCIC).
Twelve months ago Ruby, now seven, was fitted with a second implant.
Born profoundly deaf, Ruby had to be taken by her parents, Tania and Mark, to Westmead Hospital in Sydney for the procedures.
They were among many trips the family had to make to give Ruby a chance of hearing.
Their visits to the specialists in Sydney were weekly at times, and usually involved a 6am start and a 6.30pm return.
It was exhausting for them all – and expensive.
From next week, people living in the Northern Rivers who qualify for the technology won't have to endure such rigmarole.
From Wednesday, Lismore will have its own world-class cochlear implant centre.
Ruby will be part of what she calls “the grand opening” by being given a habilitation session, testing her listening and interpretation skills.
Naturally, she is very excited to be part of what will be a major health asset for the region and to be able to celebrate a technology that has allowed her to have a full life.
As an infant she responded well to the implant. With a great deal of patience and hard work, her level of hearing was “age-appropriate” soon after her first birthday, and remains so.
She speaks clearly and is an active mainstream student at Southern Cross in Ballina. Her interests include sport, horse riding and playing the piano, and she is an “easygoing and cruisy” little girl, her mum said.
“You would not know she is profoundly deaf,” said Tania, who is thrilled the SCIC centre is opening.
“It's a huge deal having such a specialist service in this area,” she said.
At the opening of the new Lismore SCIC, audiologist Colleen Psarros will “switch on” 88-year-old cochlear implant recipient Kelvin Lassells, of Coffs Harbour.